BUCKHANNON – Street paving in Buckhannon will be light this year but should pick up next year after the 1 percent sales tax takes effect, the city’s Director of Public Works told My Buckhannon recently.
Jerry Arnold and Brad Hawkins with the street department sat down to discuss what residents can expect when the major road work projects begin, which will mainly occur after the July 1 fiscal year. That’s when the bid process for the new budget year will being.
Hawkins listed off the streets that are scheduled to be paved this summer.
“Spring Street from Main to Madison and South Kanawha from Main to Wendy’s on Rt. 20, Friendly Way section between the two Spring and Kanawha and the alleyway project down by CVS,” Hawkins said.
Arnold said the street department will be revamping the alley by CVS after doing a property trade with St. Joseph’s Hospital. In exchange for the alleys closer to the hospital, Buckhannon obtained a 24-foot section directly on the west side of CVS. City employees will be doing the sub base work and will then contract out the paving.
“We also will be doing Beech Street where they installed the water tank last year,” Arnold said. “They did some damage to the street surface we’ll be resurfacing that as part of the remediation on the tank being installed.”
Arnold said he expected that project to happen the soonest, in mid-July, because all that work is being done in-house.
“The contract paving on all those other streets and on the development of the new street facade at CVS, I would anticipate that being somewhere in mid-August or late-August,” Arnold said.
All of the streets on the paving list this summer have about the same priority, but some require certain prep work before they can be paved.
“They were all about the same priority, but doing South Kanawha and on South Spring Street — particularly with Kanawha — we will have to do all the upgrades to the ramps on the sidewalks,” Arnold said. “We cannot do a complete overlay on any street without making the appropriate ADA accommodations to the ramps on the sidewalk.”
He said the city will sometimes have to patch, rather than do a complete street overlay.
“Even if there is a priority street, a lot of times when it comes down to the actual work, we will postpone the complete overlay and do patching because we don’t have the manpower or the money to go in and do the complete overhaul and the ramps and the street,” Arnold said.
He said a good example of wanting to do a complete overlay, but having to focus on sidewalks first is Florida Street.
“One of those areas that’s probably coming up in the next five years — that was last done in 2000 — is Florida Street,” Arnold said. “You notice Florida Street is starting to deteriorate, you see more and more depressions and more and more potholes.
“For us to do Florida Street, which we absolutely want to, but that’s a priority on sidewalks. We need to fix a lot of chunks on the sidewalks up through there. So that’s going to be part of the process and the planning for Florida Street.”
He said the state of the street comes into play when they decide where to pave, but usage of the street is also a factor in their assessments.
“You have to look at the conditions and say, ‘Well, the street needs resurfaced. Do we have the budget to be able to resurface this street and upgrade the sidewalks? Or should we maybe pave a higher-used street that has upgraded sidewalks on it already?’” Arnold said.
Although the actual paving projects will be light this year, Arnold said he expects work to tick up as additional revenues start coming in next year. The city expects to realize about $1 million per year from the new sales tax.
“I would expect next year that there would be a pretty significant paving season because of the sales tax boost plus the upgrades and sidewalks we’re making this year, and just the overall condition of the streets,” Arnold said.